It's been a momentous few days. David Bereit and Shawn Carney, founders of 40 Days for Life, together with Chris Slattery, founder of Expectant Mother Care who run 12 crisis pregnancy centres in New York, have been spending time with pro-lifers in London, Birmingham, and Manchester. On Saturday the Helpers of God's Precious Infants (HGPI) held a large pro-life vigil at the BPAS abortuary Bedford Sq, which was very well attended by members of the Helpers, 40 Days for Life, SPUC, Good Counsel Network, and students who came all the way from Bristol! Afterwards we had a great social with refreshments and a few impromptu talks by David, Shawn, and Chris. One of the Coordinators of HGPI announced that they would be adding a brand new vigil to their calendar - Stratford East London, where BPAS have recently opened a new abortuary on the ground floor of a residential block of homes.
The vigil opposite BPAS, praying for the unborn and their parents
listening to some short talks and enjoying the refreshments
David Bereit sharing an inspiring story about an abortion facility that shut down unexpectedly
Shawn Carney telling us how he got involved in the pro-life movement
Sister Nwadike, an inspiration to pro-lifers and an experienced pro-life counsellor. Her religious order cares for mothers and babies, including housing for 8 mothers with newborns.
Students from Bristol Students for Life getting some top tips
David Bereit, Shawn Carney, and Chris Slattery
Saturday evening witnessed the first ever 40 days for Life London banquet, held at Westminster Cathedral hall. almost 200 guests were treated to a warm reception, a sumptuous banquet meal, including 3 choices of curry, wines and candles on the table, and several excellent speeches. Robert Colquhoun, London campaign director, spoke very well and set out his vision for the next campaign, and the increasingly strong pro-life movement in the UK. David Bereit, Shawn Carney, and Chris Slattery also spoke and inspired the guests. We all felt very lucky to have been part of this event. It was good to see people making commitments for the next 40 Days for Life, and catching up with friends.
The banquet hall, almost prepared and ready
Guests chat and wait for the evening's MC Italian Mauro Iannicelli to call us to order. Mauro did an amazing job introducing the speakers, entertaining the crowd, and telling a few jokes along the way!
Mauro doing his thing at the mic
Chris Slattery speaking about running 12 crisis pregnancy centres in NY
Robert giving his speech to the guests
Chris, Shawn, Robert, and David
I feel very fortunate to be able to work in the pro-life movement full time, as a researcher and campaigns officer for SPUC. I am also very lucky to be part of the 40 Days for Life London organising team since we began in September 2010. I was reminded of all this on Saturday. I've made dedicated and passionate friends, young and old, who continually step up to the plate and help make things like this happen. There are many people to thank: those who helped promote, those who did some great IT/web work, the table hosts, those who helped set-up the hall, the caterers, the people who helped clean up afterwards, and all those who have and will spend hours in prayer and fasting for the unborn during our 40 Days for Life vigil. You know who you are!
40 Days for Life will begin on 22 February. We will have a 40 day pro-life prayer vigil opposite BPAS abortuary Bedford Sq in London. 40 Days for Life will be holding campaigns in Manchester, Birmingham, and Brighton this year, along with London. If you live in or near any of these cities please give serious thought to joining them. If there isn't pro-life activity in your area, you're the person to start it. As David Bereit says when we face doubts and trials: "do it anyway!"
For Life, Daniel